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Liberty Alliance says work underway to combat ID theft

27 October 2004  |  1108 views  |  0 Source: Liberty Alliance

The Liberty Alliance Project today announced work is underway to understand the requirements to improve the methods by which users are identified, with the intent of reducing the risks and exposure to threats, including identity theft and phishing.

Liberty members, representing a cross section of global and vertical experience, are working to define simple, strong, affordable alternatives to password authentication that could be universally beneficial in the banking, telecom, government and corporate identity markets.

The initial focus is on lowering the cost and improving the convenience associated with strong authentication, such as login tokens, security chips and smart cards.

"Threats to identity continue to plague online services, and passwords are vulnerable to attack," said Michael Barrett, VP of Security Strategy at American Express and President of the Liberty Alliance. "With phishing, identity theft and Trojan-horses that record passwords growing ever more prevalent, it is imperative that stronger forms of authentication be available to ensure user identity and to increase user confidence and web service consumption."

Strong authentication instills confidence that assertions from trusted partners are closely tied to user identities. Liberty's focus will be to lower the total cost of strong authentication and improve convenience by creating specifications that address interoperability and enhancement of authentication processes. In addition, Liberty intends to standardize the lifecycle management stages of strong authentication devices and the identity credentials that they hold.

"Liberty has been a catalyst in development and adoption of identity standards and has a strong track record of working with other standards efforts to deliver cost-effective and interoperable solutions," said Donal O'Shea, executive director of the Liberty Alliance Project. "Authentication is the foundation of identity services - as the leading identity management organization, it is only natural that Liberty drives a cross-industry effort around strong authentication."

Liberty Alliance member companies participating in this authentication work represent leaders in a diverse range of identity markets such as telecom, mobile, financial, corporate, government and consumer. Because each of these
markets views authentication from a unique perspective, Liberty Alliance and its members intend to cooperate with top standards bodies from these market verticals facilitate development of strong authentication guidelines and specifications that can be universally applicable across markets.

"Authentication remains a widespread industry issue," said Earl Perkins, a security analyst at META Group. "An organization capable of (1) leveraging support from influential companies across industries and (2) developing a model that makes strong authentication convenient, affordable, and interoperable between infrastructures and authenticators; and (3) delivering it in time to be relevant to enterprises, is well positioned to drive widespread adoption."

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